Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

increases to about 33 years. As a result of the great increase in life expectancy at birth and in adulthood and the increasing tendency to restrict births to the earlier years of marriage, parents are freed of the burden of child care for increasingly greater parts of their lives. Couples whose children have left home for higher education or marriage increase both in number and in years of life remaining after children leave home.
The modern population structure permits great improvements in the quality of life because of the decrease in the number of persons on the micro-familial level and the decrease in growth rate at the macro-social level. On the macro-social level the modern population profile provides the nation as a whole with many relative advantages. Although the growth rate of a modem population of 1 percent per annum is approximately the same as that in the early transitional population model, this growth rate is achieved much more efficiently (with a birth rate of 20 and a death rate of 10) than in the early transitional population (with a birth rate of 44 and a death rate of 34). Moreover, the growth rate of 1 percent per annum of a modern population would double the population in 69 years, whereas a population experiencing the late transition and increasing at an annual rate of 3 percent would double in 23 years.
In the long run, the specter of an ecological disaster or the limits on space will necessitate a zero rate of growth. However, in modern populations the slower rate of growth has bought time. As other contributors to this volume show, slow-growth-rate societies can more readily achieve increases in productivity and translate those increases into higher standards of living. The lower birth rate and growth rate of the modern population operate to increase the proportion of total gross national product (GNP) which can be used to increase productivity; to generate an age structure more favorable to increases in product per capita by increasing the size of the labor force in relation to the number of dependents; to augment the ability to invest in human resources (in education and the transmission of skills); to improve the ability of the economy to create nonagricultural jobs; to improve the opportunity for enriching the quality of life (12).
The world population outlook has important policy implications in both the short run and the long run.
The Long Run
In the long run, as said earlier, mankind has no alternative to achieving a zero rate of growth. The present rate of world population growth could not possiblv have been sustained over anv Ions oeriods in the oast nor can it